There was a birthday party last week and if you live in the city of Seattle, you might feel bad if you weren’t invited. That’s because you had already paid for it.
The birthday in question recognized two years of the infamous bike-sharing program known as Pronto. As the zealots over at Seattle Bike Blog pointed out, however, “Pronto Cycle Share turned two years old last week, but there hasn’t been a whole lot of celebration. At this point, the system has spent more time operating in a state of uncertainty and controversy than it has operating normally. And that uncertainty has had a huge impact on membership and ridership.”
As Shift has reported in the past, Pronto has never exactly been embraced by the Seattle community. Perhaps the weather, the city’s hilly terrain, or the clunky bikes themselves were to blame, though the bike bloggers would rather than blame uncertainty: “After all, few people are going to invest $85 for a year pass if they are not even sure the system will exist for that year.”
Rational taxpayers can only hope that the system won’t be around for birthday number 3. They could take some comfort that “City Councilmember Lisa Herbold — with the strong support of Councilmember Tim Burgess — took a big step towards killing the current systemWednesday, proposing a change that would redirect the $600,000 for 2017-18 Pronto operating funds to go to biking, walking and school safety projects instead (see the discussion starting at 23:20 in this video).”
It remains to be seen whether these two council members will succeed in convincing their colleagues of the folly that is Pronto. At least Burgess was very direct in his thinking: “Quite frankly, I don’t know why we don’t shut down the system today.”
And second for that motion?